Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We have a new pet...actually, he's been around for a few months now. We first started seeing him (her?) when just a little bugger no bigger than a squirrel. It didn't take long to find a fair amount of flower loss and damage to the lawn with many large holes being dug.

But, gosh, isn't he cute? NOT! I could so cheerfully wring his neck with my bare hands. But then does he look a bit vicious to you?

Suppose that he can be forgiven for that knowing that the lady of the house is actively planning his demise nearly every waking moment of her day.

What have we tried thus far? Let's see, there's been good old-fashioned poison pellets, cat litter to fill the holes (ugh), and a trap.

Score to date — Chomper:3 Vee:zip

Any other ideas besides buckshot or a .22? (Forestalling Vickie right off the bat.)

Hope your day is going better!

P.S. Thanks to all who commented on yesterday's post about trees. Fascinating! Linds, a "right to light" law sounds fantastic.

P.P.S. For those who've wondered, Chomper is a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck or a whistle pig.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Would you believe that I've gone and done it yet again? Please don't groan. I know that I am hopeless. < insert wry grin >

Sharon Lovejoy recently posted a perfectly charming piece called Sanctuaries of Spirit. She and her husband Jeff are visiting gardens as they head east promoting her new book and speaking at this place and that. They are wending their way to their summer home in this corner.

Anyway, Sharon showed a garden scene painted of a wonderful home as it appeared many years ago and the current scene of the same spot. That's where I opened mouth and inserted foot by saying that one of my pet peeves is... You can read it all there in comments, if you choose. (This may not be the time to say that I sent you.) Sharon said that I had sparked some lively discussion. Yup, I am all about sparking lively discussions. :D

If you've ever seen my backyard, you can see that I do love trees; I do love shrubs; I do love green plants. (See previous post) What I don't love is unkempt unless it is the forest and even then, I'm a proponent of the German way...keep it tidy. The trees behind my home truly are the view, but there are far too many of them. They block the light, encourage molds, damage my roof, prevent my other plants and flowers from growing and block the breezes not to mention the sunset. That I must turn on a light to read by in the middle of a sunny summer day is annoying, too. It's like a tomb in here!

We own an Eastern Spruce, seven or more forsythia bushes and two lilacs plus assorted azaleas. That's it, but it looks like so much more, right?

I live in a state that is big on forest management, which is why we have more forest today in 2010 than we had 100 years ago and earlier. Further, we have many lumbermen, my own brother-in-law included, who make their living selling firewood. We burn wood here in the winter because so many of us can't afford oil. There's plenty of wood to burn. Folks can sell one tree or an acre or a hundred acres and more...happens every day.

So I do not understand why homeowners who could see the lake, the mountains or the ocean choose instead to see only the trees. I confess again...I just don't get it.

Some may believe that I am being selfish to select a view over a tree or several trees. So be it. I do and will every chance I get. It's all about balance for me. I think it's all about gardening, too. What gardener keeps a plant (and a tree is a plant) that is no longer working there? Not one that I know. We prioritize. We judiciously select plants for this reason or that.

And what if we allow items to collect in our homes the way we allow trees and shrubs to grow up all around us never checking the onslaught? It may be a poor analogy, but it's working for me. Being as intentional with our flowers, trees, and shrubs is as important as being intentional with the items one has in the home or garage or wherever.

In the end, those of us who think looking at trees is the better view and those of us who think that we can't see the forest for the trees will strike some balance I am certain.

What are your thoughts? Go ahead, I can take it. :D (Maybe this will become my new catch phrase.)

A very happy summer to you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Can't See the Forest for the Trees~Mosaic Monday

Since many of us have been experiencing heat and humidity, I thought I'd provide some leafy, green shade. We live with lots of trees. They surround us and their branches hang over our roof, but we only own one tree...the Eastern Spruce. How odd is that? Comments are once again off so that you may enjoy seeing more mosaics. See you next time!

A big thank you to Mary@Little Red House for hosting this weekly event.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there! I'm sure that your children know who you are. God bless you for a job well done.

And doesn't it strike you as interesting that God wishes to be known as our father?

Father! – to God himself we cannot give a holier name. ~ William Wordsworth

I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ~II Corinthians 6:18

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lavender, Peace and Calm, and Joy

I had no idea that peace and calm could be packaged and sold, ditto joy, but as you can plainly see, there it is.

John's sister JP visited yesterday bringing gifts and we are all intrigued. She said that the lavender would help with sleep and boy is she right! JP put a bit on Nan's wrists then Nan promptly left for her room where she napped for two and a half hours. I tried it last night and can report that I enjoyed a peaceful sleep as well. Hope that John also benefited from the gentle aroma. Can't wait to try the other fragrances. What a thoughtful gift from a sweet gal who also reads my blog. Thank you, JP!

Wishing you all lavender dreams, peace and calm, and joy can't hurt either. Now go create a terrific Saturday...

Friday, June 18, 2010


Do you have spiderwort growing in your garden? It's a wonderful little flower tending more toward blue than purple. It's a perennial, which in my book is an added bonus.

The Death Spray that I spoke of earlier found at LL's is not working quite as well as I'd hoped. The rhubarb leaves are still being eaten overnight. Oh, and do be careful when using any such spray. I accidentally inhaled some yesterday and it wasn't pleasant. Yup, those stupid product warnings are made for folks like me. < insert wry, very wry, grin >

The strawberry shortcake was delish. We were able to talk my mother into staying for supper. I thought that since this making a meal of strawberry shortcake is an old family tradition and all... Mother told me that my grandmother came up with it; my grandmother told me that her grandmother came up with it. Well, as stated, it goes away back and I have no idea to whom proper credit goes. I do think everyone should try it!

Edited to Add: *More information* from Leslie on how far back this eating of strawberry shortcake for supper goes. It is not original with my family. John's family didn't do it, though he's not opposed. This leads me to wonder if your family does. Oh, we make meals of corn on the cob as well in late August and early September. And I'd be mighty tempted with fresh tomatoes, too, but never have.

This next bit is only for regular readers and the curious. Nan is now enrolled with the hospice program. It sounds as if it will be just the support that she needs. It has no time limit; it is covered by her insurance; it does provide respite care twice a week for two hours at a time; a doctor is on staff and he can make house calls; there's a nurse on duty 24/7 if a question comes up at any hour. Best of all, if caring for Nan becomes too much for either of us, she can go to the Hospice House, which is a wonderful facility. My sister looked into it last fall when we thought my mother might need it. One of the first things the Hospice nurse said was that a lot of the medications that my grandmother is taking will be removed. They're no longer of any benefit to her. Also, if she doesn't want to eat, she doesn't have to eat. These things will be her choice. This will represent a major shift so it'll be interesting to see how it all goes.

Time for a bit of levity...

I was able to pop in to visit with the grands a few nights ago. Only the youngest and my son were home at first, but the eldest and his mom came in after a while. I asked my returning grand if he'd been visiting.

His response, "No! I just forgot to stay home."

Love kid logic and must remember that line!

Have a wonderful Friday...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Strawberries and a Sweetheart

Sent John off for a few things from the store and he took the scenic route past the farmstand and picked up strawberries. That means just one thing—strawberry shortcake for supper. That's right. Our strawberry season is short and swift so we devote an entire meal to the delicious strawberry. Course John could enjoy strawberry shortcake any day; somehow Nan and I will just have to endure. ;>

In further John news, he continues his work on the trellises.

Does he not look happy?

Don't look now, Hon, but I see more painting in your future.

He thinks that I'm kidding!
And a very happy Thursday to you...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Not All About Alzheimer's Pt.2

Hmmm, not sure about that header. I've been waiting so patiently for the Bolero lilies to bloom, too...

Though I said that my blog wouldn't be all about the trouble of this day, I just wanted to document. The social worker thinks there may be help, but it won't come in the form of daycare as Nan is beyond that at this point. The SW feels that what we have is a "failure to thrive" and that Hospice Care should be called in. Taking a deep breath even as I type this.

It's not that I feel that there is any tragedy in living to be 100. There is not. I guess that the term failure to thrive sounds bad and as if it may be a finger pointing at the quality of the care my grandmother has received while with me. Both my mother and the social worker say that isn't so. It's my insecurity, my problem.

I'm not sure what this will all mean yet. The ball begins to roll tomorrow as the assessment team arrives. Oh boy. As I thought, Nan had a very hard struggle with this discussion. I found her weeping later in the day and through her gasps she told me how afraid she is. I just hugged her and told her that she was safe and secure and that there'd never be a time when she was abandoned. Not ever.

A huge thank you to all who commented on yesterday's post. You gave me such sound suggestions and I pondered all day on what you said. And I've ordered books, too!

Thanks as well for responding to the comments on/comments off question. Today, I'm closing comments as you've invested so much already. Gentle hugs all the way around.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Not All About Alzheimer's—Is that Selfish?

 37-40Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." (Matthew 22:37-39, The Message)

There's a fine line between thinking about challenges in the best possible light and denial. At least, I 've always found that to be true. I've been living in some denial of late and find myself now making difficult decisions. My denial has been that "I can do this." Worse yet it has been "I can do this alone."

In an attempt to get some help with my grandmother, Home Health was called in. It's been a regular nightmare. No offense to home health for when truly needed, it's a blessing. When it's not, it's an interruption and an irritation. Come to find out, what I really needed was respite care. Big difference.

And what Nan really needs is a caregiver who is not strung out by her needs/wants/demands, sleep deprivation, and providing constant 24/7 care.

A social worker has been called in to share the resources available. I've only been able to find one resource, which turns out to be a day care center for elders. Oh, Nan is so not going to like this, but it is going to be necessary for me. That's the rub. This is going to be a selfish move on my part to give me a break. I need a break. I, I, I, need a break.

It's too easy, as a Believer, to feel that one must do and do and do and wear oneself completely out on the altar of give, give, give. Yes, some of you have even warned me. I remember.

That's why when I read this quote by E.B. White, it resonated. I have no idea where Mr. White's faith stood, but I do rather agree, well all except for that first bit there about the "most interesting."

Self is the most interesting thing in the world—if not carried to extremes
—and life would be far less gallant and exciting if men were not
continually absorbed with watching what they're doing with their own
hands and marvelling at the stew which is simmering in their own heads.
I hate people who are not interested in themselves.

At first glance, that sounds mighty selfish, but let's think about it. Do you know anyone who is interesting who is disinterested in him/herself? I don't. I don't think it's healthy. And isn't it fascinating to read from the Word that we can only love others when we love ourselves?

Just want to add here that this is not going to become a blog about Alzheimer's or caregiving just as it wasn't one about cancer or mental illness or the other concerns my family faces. Rather, it remains about my simple journey through this life and what interests me. Thank you for joining me for the first time or the seven hundredth. What a privilege to have you visit.

(I've been exploring some sites that focus on Alzheimer's and wish to provide the links of those that have been especially meaningful to me. It will grow with time, I'm certain.)

Caring.com a wealth of information
Memory Bridge ditto
Memory Bridge Video 9 makes me cry
Moving Forward with Alzheimer's a wonderful blog!

Oh, one last thing that perhaps you can help me with. Does it bug you when a blogger turns off comments? Go ahead, let me know. I can take it. :D

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Around the Sewing Room~Mosaic Monday

Not a lot of sun for taking lovely posy pictures and not a lot of excitement in the house hence these photos taken in my sewing/craft room. Believe me, I could not share what the room looks like in one shot for you'd run screaming from my blog. Little vignettes work best just now, but return later in the week when I hope to show my cleaned and more efficient space. :D Let's see if that motivates me...

Once again, comments are closed so that you may visit all the wonderful mosaics featured at Mary's Little Red House. Have a fun day!

Stained Glass


People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We are like windows
Stained with colors of the rainbow
Set in a darkened room
Till the Bridegroom comes to shine through
Then the colors fall around our feet
Over those we meet
Covering all the gray that we see
Rainbow colors of assorted hues
Come exchange your blues...

My colors grow so dim
When I start to fall away from Him
But up comes the strongest wind
That He sends to blow me
Back into his arms again.

~ Keith Green

Have always enjoyed the syncopation of this song and its joy-filled message. (And, yes, I still miss Keith Green.)

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance. ~Proverbs 15:13

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness. ~Lady Blessington (love her name!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

$ex in the Garden

Now that's an old ploy. The oldest one around. A garage nearby advertises using that one word in great big letters. The smaller font reads "Now that we have your attention." So, there you have it, two cheap shots in one week.

Actually, I do want to show you that very thing, but wait for the reveal.

Everything looks so much greener in the rain. The slugs are chowing down on the rhubarb, but I have the antidote. You do, too, now. Visit Leslie Land right *here* and look for "Death Spray."

Yup, it rained. The windows were washed thanks to John. Everything looks so much brighter now.

Okay, ready for the big reveal? I took this photo because my eyes are failing me and when this lovely, stylized insect (what is it?) flew by, I thought it the most enchanting thing and followed it. Turned out to be two its...er...not sure of pronoun case in this instance. Still, it's beautiful, right? Looks like a regular Fred Astaire of insects all dressed up in a tux.

Have a delightful Friday!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not All Stuff is Bad Stuff

Right. What was I saying about stuff? Here's a lovely stack of books that my mother left off for me today. She actually had some of these slated for the library sale until I snagged them.

I love books for making subtle or not so subtle decorating statements around the house.

This little one I put in my window arrangement for the sweet graphics of children fishing. I don't remember ever reading it.

This book I remember loving. L.o.v.i.n.g. My mother and grandmother loved it before me.

Let's see if we can discover why...

Ahhh, yes! Great pictures and

great text. I've never read a better-written truncated summary of King Henry VIII since.

Catch me in four years when I may be offering some of these fun graphics. Blast that 100 year rule! (Edited to Add: Math... the bane of my existence.)

So do you have a favorite childhood book that was your mother's and her mother's?

Edited to Add: Kristi at Thoughts from Thicket House graciously provided *this online site* for the book. Who knew? You can see the wonderful illustrations in much better detail. While the authors are different, it appears to be the same pictures and the same stories (on further review...not quite, but very close). I'm not sure what that mystery is about. My book is written by Charles Morris. This site says it was written by E. Nesbit. Please note that illustrations may be copied from that site. Yay!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pesky Problems

In case you're curious, the last post with the surprised cat was about my troubles with Blogger and a post just prior. I wish that posts could be retrieved quickly when one has obviously made an error. You know, before too many people become aware that said error has been made. Gee, I don't even know how I made the mistake in the first place. All I know is that I hit the enter key twice and my post in progress was sailing down the slip and heading for the open sea...swwooossshhhh. In order to show an actual post instead of a now deleted post, up went the apology and the cat. It had the added benefit of attracting more visitors. Now I'm apologizing for that cheap ruse; I feel so sordid.

The deleted post would have been terribly depressing, like this one won't be. ;> It was all about stuff and why I am storing so much of it when it isn't mine. I'm weary of it...very. Little annoying things are robbing me of joy. There's not much that can be done about it in this moment when both my mother and my sister are selling their homes. That's right.

My sister and her husband are moving out of state in the next few weeks. Actually, he is leaving before the week is out. It appears that my mother will go with them, at least for now. This is not a little thing robbing me of joy. It's a big thing. You see, my grandmother is not improving with her new medication. If anything, she is getting worse despite initial improvements. She grows more quarrelsome, harder to care for, and her body is failing her. Also, I can't believe that I am being left alone in this corner with the other parent. Good heavens! Bottom line: I'm scared to death that they'll be gone and I'll have to make decisions on my own. Fear. The bane of my existence. Anyway, all this explains why I chose Sunday's scripture. It's all about the "Lo, I am with you always..."

So how does one keep on doing those things that must be done? My sister continues to live an activity-filled life in spite of all that swirls about her. That's not wrong. That's very healthful behavior. I'm going to follow her example and give it a try myself...someday. In the meantime, I'll just practice my lean. Hope that you're practicing yours, too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

OOps! Pardon Me

So sorry for the slip!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Around the Yard~Mosaic Monday

Late spring light filtering through the trees

Thank you for visiting and looking at my offering for Mosaic Monday. Comments are closed so that you might skip off freely to look at the next. If you'd like to follow along, clicking on the title of this post will take you back to Mary's Little Red House.

A Promise

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~Matthew 28:20 KJV

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Newsy Little Nothing Post

Little pot of johnny-jump-ups

Maybe that title is promising too much with "newsy." I so enjoy newsy posts that others write that I thought I might try one myself.

It rained all night with intermittent thunder showers. I slept very well and whenever I did wake to a clap of thunder, I'd snuggle back down into my covers and against my beloved and say to myself you are so blessed and it is so cozy here.

We enjoyed a quiet Saturday morning. Nan has been sleeping much longer of late and, yes, we know what that bodes. John read his paper and I my library book, another of Elizabeth Goudge's only this time much lighter reading. The Little White Horse was written in 1946 and won the Carnegie Medal for children's literature. (I believe that C.S. Lewis must've taken note because The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe has some similar elements and was published in 1950. ETA: Yes, of course, I find upon some further research that this is true. Not only that, but that this book strongly influenced the writer mentioned next.) The Little White Horse is one of J.*. *owlings' favorite childhood reads. I enjoyed it very much, too. Especially so in light of the second line of this paragraph and the final paragraph of The Little White Horse. Dear reader, you know that I am always vague. Somehow I'm hoping that if you've not read it or not for a long time, that you'll pick it up once again out of sheer curiosity as I did. So if you enjoy reading about homes and hospitality, great adventures and odd happenings, you'd love this little fairy tale. Anyhow, this completes my marathon of Goudge books for a while.

Yes, I did complete Laura Bush's book and would recommend it as insightful, which makes for interesting reading. Some have described the book as insipid. I would not. I found it lyrically written with a pleasant flow. It maintained my interest from the first page to the last. Mrs. Bush did far more during her husband's presidency than I had imagined and I am impressed with how well she used her time and for what causes. The most notable, in my book, being her stand for women's rights in the Middle East and in particular Afghanistan. Her work actually continues to this day as a very recent Google search reveals.

Enough of books!

My mother is doing well and had supper with us last night. We ordered out and had haddock dinners with a side of fried shrimp. It was a welcome change for us all, especially for John and me as we are dieting. No! We are not dieting. We are making yet another "life change." Right. I'm convinced of it. Kinda.


Since I left off writing this, my grandmother has wakened, been bathed, has eaten, and is sitting in the living room reading. My mother has arrived for lunch and John returned from a morning's activities for lunch. It was a rainy day and you know what that means (window washing), but now a weak sun is shining so John, feeling personally blessed by that sign, has skipped off again. Mother left just prior. She is at work packing her home and preparing for its sale. I don't like to think of her doing this work on her own, but there's no one available to help her and she is adamant that it must be done now.

So the remainder of my afternoon activities are to push the laundry (there's always a lot of laundry with my nan) and to wash up the dishes, which is challenging since there's so much laundry and so little hot water as a result.

And I'm going to pluck the chives blossoms and make some vinegar that Nadine at Nadine's Nook told about right *here.* Oops! Guess I'll have to dry those blossoms a bit first.

Some fine day, I shall hope to be less newsy and more interesting.

Have a lovely afternoon...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trellises Three

Sunlight on Chippy White Fence this Morning

Oh boy! Look what I found in the garage last night!

Gotta love a listening man that's all I have to say about this. I had to test them, though they are not finished as in painted.

I want to especially thank all those who mentioned trellises as an answer on my Mirror Mirror on the Garage Wall post so here's a big thank you to Packrat who was the first to suggest it, Lisa, Sharon, Terra, and Judy. With all your voices together, believe me, I heard "trellises" and started subtly mentioning them...of course ;> ...with the result I'm showing here.

I made the mistake of saying, "Wow! That was quick." I was assured that they were not done quickly at all. So let's see how long before they are painted and mounted and there is anything climbing on them, which is when I'll need to thank a lot more sweet gals!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More Posy Pictures

A scary thing happened when I logged in today. There was a message (can you see it, too) saying that bandwith had been exceeded. After a little research at Blogger help, I think I've discovered that it is my template that is causing the difficulty. Hope that it will fix itself. For a moment there I had my blog crashing or having to create a new blog when I like this one just fine, and all sorts of other calamities. I employed my "just slow down" method of tackling a problem. I hate going off on a tizzy when there's no need. Now if there is a need, I am perfectly capable of it — tizzy time that is. (Edited to Add: Problem solved. After reading Aunt Amelia's comment, I just removed the template.)

Three regular old photos no new editor or anything special.

My mother gave me some flowers so we had to create a space. More like John created the space while I watched. Blessed me.

There are some irises not too happy with the transplant and a potentilla bush, which isn't showing up so well, and the two azalea plants my daughter gave me for Mother's Day and just when I had about decided to give azaleas the boot. Now I have four to give the boot except that I just can't.

Being outside is tricky here. We have the smoke from the Quebec forest fires and it's tick season; I have had two thus far. This morning, I feel as if there are a hundred marching all over me. Ackkk! Just slow down, Vee, no tizzy time for you today. Good heavens! Now I'm talking to myself on my blog. This can't be good.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Gathering

It was a delight to have a meeting of the clan (most of it) over the weekend.  Note to self: It is always more fun to have these gatherings at someone else's place. In this case, someone else's place was my sister's. The pictures I am sharing today are of her flowers, her yard, her deck, her cars, her trees. Should I include my brother-in-law in this possession list?

Of course, you know that I loved seeing this bright yellow Adirondack chair first thing. The peonies weren't bad either.

These huge hostas line both sides of the drive. Note the steep stairs on either side. Fortunately for Nan, we were able to drive around to the back of the house as seen in the first picture so she stepped from the car directly to the deck.
My grand listens amused to his mother's discussions of why he should eat something besides his shoe. Goodness, I remember those days so well and both my kids lived to tell about it so I'm hoping that Sam gets hungry one day soon and eats a hamburger.

Sis does have a little red house and she also has a little red shed right behind these bleeding hearts. I think that it would make a cute playhouse for her grands some day. (Are you listening, dear nieces?)

So many good things to eat, but this was my favorite — a rhubarb square. This recipe has been on my blog before right *here.*

(This new editor drives me foolish. I have been trying to create this post for the better part of an hour and my brain and patience are scrambled. If I had a computer program that worked this poorly, it would be history. I'd smash it to smithereens with a hammer. Then I'd jump on what remained. There! I feel better now. )

Oh, it worked that time. Where was I? Oh yes, Jake enjoyed looking at all the flowers and so did I. Here's a nice batch of flower pics without comment.

(Forgive me for not being able to scoot in between pictures with my text.) And we played. We played roll down the hill (yes, I played that one), and we played tag (yup, me too), and we played hide n' seek (you betcha! my favorite spot was behind a big old oak tree), and we played golf (sure did, hit every golf ball, two). John was especially impressive and I didn't get one picture of him. Darn! Apparently, my sis and her hubby practice on "their private fairway" quite often. She is getting ready to tee off on the left while her daughter and mine watch.

Thank you for taking the garden tour through my sister's yard. Many of the pictures featured in yesterday's mosaic were of my sister's town as well.

I'm sure that lots of bloggers have their stories to share today after the holiday and I want to read them all!  Enjoy a wonderful Tuesday.